The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

USA's Microgrid: Soldiers Grove Solar Village

Most of us who enjoy lighting at home couldn't explain in detail how that web of electrical complexity -- the power grid -- moves electrons from there to here. Maybe it’s better to start with something smaller and more manageable. Maybe we should talk more about microgrids.

A microgrid is exactly what it sounds like -- a scaled-down electricity distribution system that can provide power to military bases, homes, municipalities, university campuses and office buildings. Microgrids can turn buildings into “islands” of self-sufficient power by linking together small generators such as diesel generators, fuel cells, microturbines, solar panels and others. This forms a network to provide power on the same spot it's produced.

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Good-for-Nothing Polluted Land May Be Good for Renewables

Solar 15% Returns Beat Treasuries for Buffett to Google

The federal government and the private sector have launched new efforts to determine ideal sites for solar and wind energy projects in the United States.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department posted new tools April 25 for evaluating commercial and industrial rooftops, parking lots, and contaminated lands for solar and wind energy potential.

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Water Bottles at London Marathon

Wilson Kipsang of Kenya led a field of 36,000 runners on Sunday in the London Marathon.  Competitors ranged from elite athletes to former "Dr. Who" actor Christopher Ecclestone, to ordinary punters like me  and 101-year-old Fauja Singh, who I first met at the marathon when he was a mere 93.

Relatively cool temperatures meant runners needed to drink less water than our colleagues who ran the Boston Marathon in 30 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit) of heat on April 16, but I still grabbed a bottle every mile, and threw it away. I'd take a couple of swigs and toss them to the side of the road. And so did everybody else.

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Good, Old-Fashioned Soot Traps Heat as It Fouls Air

Diesel Exhaust Fumes

Diesel engines and burning of biomass are responsible for the lion's share of black carbon emissions in the United States, according to an EPA report to Congress on emissions of the carbon particulates. EPA's report on black carbon-- the most effective form of particulate matter, by mass, at absorbing solar energy--holds some interesting facts in regard to the largest U.S. sources.

First, here’s the breakdown of total U.S. black carbon emissions that appears in the agency’s Report to Congress on Black Carbon released March 30:

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Playing in the Sun

When will American business wake up to the scientific reality of climate change?

When the common-sense moderate middle wakes up. When pragmatic entrepreneurs and investors realize an intransigent, inflexible and, worst of all, factually incorrect political stance could lose the U.S. global influence and mountains of cash. We risk our technological and engineering -- and moral -- leadership to other countries if we continue to deny and debate established science.

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Cloud Formation

I’m a moderate Republican - a fan of small government, light regulation and market solutions. A serial entrepreneur, I founded companies that invented 3-D television weather graphics and the first app on a cell phone. I’m a Penn State meteorologist. My day-job since 1979: tracking weather for TV news.

If you know anything about American politics these days, and follow the climate war at all, you might anticipate with some confidence that I agree global warming is a hoax. That’s a shame, and I hope it changes soon.

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Tortoises Seized in Smuggling Attempt

Tortoises are pictured at the Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka on April 17, 2012. Bangladesh customs authorities seized more than 400 tortoises at the country's main airport as the reptiles were being smuggled from India to Thailand, an official said.

Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.

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Creating Eco-Friendly Cement

Planet Forward’s Frank Sesno explains how much energy is required to make cement. He reports on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Running Time: 02:51

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Rolling Hills and Clear Skies

You might think any corporate data that helps investors weigh the value of a company would be called "financial information," right? Not so. Welcome to the world of "non-financial information."

Five U.S. companies in 2011 expanded their financial disclosures -- information required of publicly traded companies -- to include data about environmental performance, employee and community relations, and corporate governance. Investors, nongovernmental organizations and even some governments are increasingly seeking this information as it relates to business risks and opportunities. Non-financial information, it turns out, can have a pretty big impact on financial performance.

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Sustainability Indicator: 70% Urban

Sustainability Indicator

Today's sustainability indicator, 70 percent, is the proportion of the world's population that will be living in urban areas by 2050. About half of the population is now rural.

This month's indicators:

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor
eroston@bloomberg.net

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor
trandall6@bloomberg.net

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